Fine Gael Ard Fheis: Michael Noonan considering introduction of tax cuts
MICHAEL Noonan has given his clearest indication yet that tax cuts are on the way in the next Budget.
The Finance Minister accepted that a raft of austerity measures introduced by the government over the past six years "have taken their toll".
He told the Fine Gael Ard Fheis in Dublin that a reduction in the country's debt levels provides the government with "greater flexibility" for reductions in taxes and improving public services.
"This Government has brought Ireland out of the crisis, and we cannot go back to the failed boom and bust policies of the past,"Mr Noonan said.
"As a Government, we know that there are further opportunities in the years ahead for us to build upon the initiatives that have worked. It is in this vein that in my role as Minister for Finance, I will consider the introduction of targeted tax reductions that have a demonstrable effect on employment growth," he added.
Earlier, Junior Finance Minister Brian Hayes said the government will deliver economic growth by ensuring "we stop taxing the hell out of people".
"We now need to put back firmly on the agenda the whole question of giving workers a break in this country," he told delegates.
Mr Hayes pointed to the top marginal tax rate of 52pc, adding that such a rate will not persuade people to come back to Ireland for employment.
Meanwhile, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton this morning warned about the prospect of a stalled recovery.
"Recovery is a fragile thing. The gains we have made in recent years could be easily lost," he said.
Mr Bruton insisted however that wage increases are off the cards, in what will been seen as a rebuke to Social Protection Minister Joan Burton.
The Labour politician recently said such increases must be considered as part of Ireland's recovery.
Meanwhile, a raft of organisations will shortly be required under law to report concerns relating to child protection, Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said.
Ms Fitzgerald today said the government's Children First Bill will be published within weeks.
The bill will place on a statutory footing the obligation of organisations working with children to alert the authorities about child protection concerns.